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Feb. 26, 2007
The power of asking a question
Elysa, our staff ecologist, explains that small steps really can make a big difference.

Two years ago, Tom R. had his "Styrofoam Epiphany."

After participating in a company-wide 2080 day to clean up the shoreline, he realized he had to do something. Tom recounts:

What was so profound for me that day was that styrofoam was everywhere!!! It had never dawned on me until that day what an evil substance it is. As a direct result, I began sending essentially a customized form letter to any vendor that ever sent us ingredient/product samples packed with styrofoam peanuts. I recounted my experience that day on the shoreline, recommended that they switch to biodegradable cornstarch based peanuts, and also listed a couple of known vendors. Each vendor that received the letter responded in a very positive way, and indeed each of them made the switch.

After attending the 2006 Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, Tom noticed the thousands of single serve plastic cups being used, and in turn thrown away, for food sampling purposes. He wrote Bill Lynch, the Director of Operations at the Fancy Food Show, recommending the use of biodegradable paper bags as a first step. Bill Lynch took it much further, writing to Tom: 

You'll be happy to know that your original email sparked something in me to make some changes on our shows to leave less of a "footprint" on each city we do our shows. I developed an initiative for our shows called the "Get Green" program….  I thought you would like to know that we are doing our best to do what's right for this beautiful planet we live on. Thanks again for your original email….

The Get Green program includes a long list of changes for these trade shows, including a request that no styrofoam be used at all, that reusable or compostable materials be substituted for plastics, that recycling bins be present at every show, that paper catalogs be eliminated, that badges are collected and recycled, and that leftover food is donated to shelters in each city—that's more than 200,000 lbs of food a year!

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Office Life, Sustainability

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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